IS afa HISTORY?
The gargantuan horror of September 11, the war against terrorism, the
anthrax scare, and the seriously depressed state of our industry and economy
have greatly obscured the afa issue. Our
concerns now are infinitely more important – our personal safety, the safety
of our friends, neighbors and loved ones, the security of our country, our
jobs and the survival of Delta. The afa has one additional concern and it’s
huge – its own survival. Already
hard pressed financially, the afa is losing thousands of members and urgently
needs to increase its revenues. FAIR,
the independent union trying to replace the afa at United, reports “Information
provided to FAIR …suggests that the furloughs in our ranks may reach
10,000!” Add the losses at
United to thousands more at US Airways and other airlines and the afa’s
financial outlook is desperate. Things
may well get worse. US Airways is already in peril and United’s president
said United will “perish” by mid 2002 if it does not stem its huge losses
(reportedly $5 to $10 million a day). The unions screamed, the stock tanked,
and he got fired – because he told the truth.
the afa is unable to entrap us to compensate for the huge losses it is
experiencing, it is likely to be merged with another union, probably the
Service Employees International Union which, incidentally, is agonizing over
the recent loss of 87,000 of its own members.
dues increase seems like a virtual certainty, but the afa will delay that
until after the election at Delta for obvious reasons.
In early 1996, the afa tried to raise dues from $39 to $48 per month,
but apparently ran into a firestorm of opposition and backed off.
With a staggering loss of members on the horizon we fully expect the
afa to renew its effort to raise dues -
even though it could compensate in large part for its loss of members by
discontinuing its practice of paying “member volunteers” $1 of every $4 it
collects in dues. Insofar as
obtaining new members is concerned, we are the afa’s only viable option so
it is being forced to strive all the more aggressively to entrap us (and avoid
a shotgun wedding with the “janitors” union).
the afa says now, more than ever, we need its expertise to guide and protect
us. The problem with this line is
that you motivate people by satisfying unfilled needs and the afa
cannot begin to fulfill ours. The afa cannot get pax to resume flying.
On the contrary, Pat Friend is even discouraging pax by going around
insisting that it’s not safe to fly.
as our personal safety is concerned, when it was suggested that pilots carry
firearms or stun guns, the afa said it rejects the idea of arming pilots
against hijackers because “We don’t need to make these situations more
dangerous than they are.” In
a terrorist attack, things couldn’t be more dangerous for pax and crew so
arming pilots could only make things more dangerous for terrorists. Wouldn’t
that be awful? Apparently it finally dawned on the afa that, if pilots had
been armed, the World Trade Towers and Pentagon would likely still be
standing, four planes wouldn’t have crashed, thousands of people would still
be alive, billions of dollars would be saved and we would not be engaged in a
deadly war. Even though the afa
opposed arming pilots, NBC reports that it favors arming F/As with stun guns
and mace. Some logic. The afa thinks it’s too dangerous to arm pilots who
typically have extensive military experience, but it’s OK to arm us. That’s really nutty.
afa obviously cannot offer job security or it wouldn’t be losing thousands
of members, so what would it have to offer?
Early retirement incentives? Delta
has already provided them. Extended
leaves? Delta has already made
them available. Severance pay? Delta is already providing it. Delta is going to great
lengths and expense to avoid lay-offs, by offering leaves, buy-outs, extended
insurance coverage, etc. Prospects
are good that few, if any, Delta F/As will have to be furloughed. Under the
circumstances, that is remarkable. What is the afa doing for its members?
Precious little. Here’s what FAIR reports as of October 22:
is our union? Where is the
Association of Flight Attendants? Where
is the AFL-CIO? Where is our MEC?
Where are the AFA leaders who have recently fed us “CHAOS” to
the point of regurgitation? What,
if anything, is AFA and its top leadership doing to stop this hemorrhaging?
… The ink on the furlough notices has been dry for some time now
and we have yet to receive any written correspondence from our MEC of AFA
International providing us with an explanation and account of what is
happening and what resolutions are being sought.
We have heard little of any AFA attempts to counter these furloughs. In
the past, surpluses of flight attendants were effectively reduced via ‘line
sharing’ and retirement incentives. Yet, we hear nothing from AFA.
The silence is deafening.”
certainly wouldn’t be surprising if United has been balking at providing
line-sharing, retirement incentives, etc., to a union that has been promoting
CHAOS “to the point of regurgitation.”
What possible motive could the union that claims it “can help
make Delta a stronger organization” have for promoting CHAOS at this
incredibly inopportune time? Starting
this year, the 6th year of the current 10 year contract, United
F/As were to get raises that make their pay equal to the average of the major
carriers. Since Delta and American F/As are paid 15% to 22% more than
United F/As, we expected United F/As to get a raise in the 6% to 8% range.
The afa appealed to arbitration and got nothing, nada, nil, zilch, zip,
zero. (After all the afa’s BS, wouldn’t it have been a hoot to have been
at the arbitration and hear the afa claim that United F/As were entitled to
big raises because their pay was below average?).
think we’ve figured out why the afa got skunked in arbitration. Throughout
its campaign against us, the afa has continually boasted that the United F/As
compensation is industry leading. Consequently,
all United management had to do was to cite these afa’s oft-made claims to
support its contention that United F/As were not entitled to raises. If, as we
suspect, that’s what United did, it was a brilliant strategy because the
only way the afa could rebut it was by admitting that it had been lying to us.
The afa would never do that, even though you can count the number of
times the afa and its supporters have lied to us on the fingers of … hordes
of dentists who look forward with malicious delight to Halloween candy. Why
has the afa “leadership” been
promoting CHAOS? Probably in
retaliation for getting its socks knocked off in arbitration.
Whatever the reason, promoting CHAOS in this economy it’s about as
intelligent as having a taxidermist care for your pets.
all these and many more reasons, we believe interest in the afa and its
chances of success have declined substantially. We also believe that the
afa’s invigorated efforts to entrap us will backfire because, in effect, the
afa is trying to sell an insurance policy that may protect us against falling
off a building, but not against hitting the ground.
Furthermore, we have more important things on our minds and don’t
want to be hounded and pestered about unions, period! Pro or con.
we think, is why we’ve been hearing so little talk about the afa.
Under the circumstances, we’re concerned that campaigning actively
might prove annoying and resuscitate rather than discourage interest in the
afa. In fact, we’ve been so concerned that we’ve hesitated to send out
this issue, and would not have, were it not for it having been so long since
our last one. What do you think? Should we back off and only re-enter the fray if it appears
that the afa is gaining significant ground or should we campaign actively?
Please let us know. We’ll
be guided by your input.